The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing Loss | Beltone
Diabetes is a major health concern which millions of individuals face and must manage daily. There are many serious side effects closely linked to diabetes, such as kidney damage, eye damage, slowed healing, and heart and blood vessel disease. However, it is important to be aware that diabetes can also lead to one lesser-known health issue: hearing loss.
How Diabetes Can Lead to Hearing Loss
There is a connection between hearing loss and diabetes. In fact, compared to those who do not have diabetes, hearing loss is twice as common in individuals in whom the disease is present. A similar increase holds true for prediabetes. Individuals with prediabetes have a 30% higher chance of developing hearing loss compared to those who don't have it.
This connection is still theoretical and research is ongoing, but researchers believe that this connection could be due to high blood sugar levels. When an individual with diabetes has high blood sugar, this state of inflammation can cause damage to the small blood vessels in the inner ear.
High blood sugar from diabetes also causes diabetic neuropathy, which is nerve damage commonly seen in the feet and legs. It is possible that this nerve damage may also affect the ears, causing an increase in the incidence and severity of hearing loss.
Risks Associated With Diabetes and Loss of Hearing
When you have a serious medical condition such as diabetes, it is essential that you be aware of all the risks associated with it. If it's coupled with hearing loss, it becomes even more important to be fully cognizant of your state of health and other things that might affect it, such as:
- Falling: Your inner ear helps manage both your hearing and sense of balance, so when that is damaged, it can lead to a greater risk of falling. Elderly individuals with this condition need to be especially careful, as falling can very easily lead to issues like fractures, broken bones or head injuries.
- Social isolation and depression: When an individual is struggling to hear what others are saying, it could lead to embarrassment and low self-esteem. This can easily turn into social isolation and depression since they are not able to communicate effectively with the people around them.
- Dementia: Compared to those without these conditions, people with hearing loss and diabetes are at a higher risk of dementia.
What Can You Do?
There are a few steps you can follow to prevent hearing loss, or at least minimize the chances that it will become more severe. Be sure to avoid loud environments where your ears will be under a great deal of strain. Also, whenever you watch a movie or listen to music, don't turn the volume up louder than necessary.
If you are concerned about hearing loss, reach out to Beltone for a free online hearing test or to schedule an appointment with a trained audiologist who can help you discover if your hearing loss is mild, moderate or severe. We will also work with you to decipher the cause of your hearing loss and the best plan to remedy or manage it moving forward.